Quintero Pacific Sailing Lessons: Day 1


Author:  Pete

Location:  Quintero, Chile.     [ 32°46′58″S  71°31′50″W ]


We finally got our feet wet!  Found a fantastic gentleman who had a sailboat on the coast and gave private lessons.  There is an ASA equivalent here in Chile, but they are more focused on theory than practice, and are similar price as the ASA courses.  Thus, Pash and I have decided to do the majority of our instruction in the states this summer.


It, however, is exceedingly frustrating to be soaking up theory from books, planning like crazy, and ducking under the looming specter of this unknown trip and not be able to do anything tangible.  We’ve been itching for some time on a real boat in real waves.  I do realize we’ll be inundated with these experiences very soon, but we’re impatient folk.


It was a fantastic connection to find Mario Carmona, a sailor from Santiago who kept a small house and boat in nearby Quintero, a small, industrial, port town.  He happily arranged a few days of sailing with us with the aim of familiarizing us with the systems aboard and have us be able to sail by ourselves.


At the beginning of the the ‘long’ Easter weekend we met Mario at the Quintero Club de Yates and jumped aboard his 35′ Ericson.  We spent the first hour or so in the calm of the bay focused on systems of a cruising sailboat, electronics, plumbing, navigation, and so on.


Motored out of our mooring between long rows of gorgeous sailboats and beat up fishing boats, a juxtaposition of reasons to be at sea.  We practiced man-overboard drills, and handling the boat under power.  Even with a 12,000 pound displacement she responded well to the diesel.  A fat sea lion frolicked along with us, laughing at our ungraceful choreography.  Bonus points if you can pick his laughing face out in the picture below.


When the wind picked up we raised the main and worked some drills under its power alone.  Later we unfurled the 120 genoa and aimed out of the bay.  Who’s laughing now, sea lion?  As Chile imports the majority of it’s energy, La Bahia Quintero is a busy port where tankers of petroleum and natural gas are offloaded.  So our first excursion to open water came after we ran the gauntlet of giants.





Making out into the open seas we worked drills on handling in large swell.  We estimated they were 2.5 meters.  Pretty good.  Mario was a fantastic instructor.  By the end of the day we were handling the boat by ourselves with ease… and only a little green from the swell.




  1. Will   •  

    I don’t know if anyone will read this, but I’m a student studying abroad in Santiago, Chile this semester and I’m interested in sailing lessons. Any chance I can get Mario Carmona’s contact information? My email is war31@georgetown.edu. Thanks.

    • Miranda   •  

      Hi Will! Yes, of course I read through the comments on our blog. I hope you are enjoying your semester in Santiago. We loved living there! I’ll send you an email with his cell number. Give him our saludos if you do meet up with Mario. He’s a great guy!

      • Patrick   •  

        Can you also give me his cell number. Been in Santiago several times, presently live on the Island of Margarita in Caribbean. However will be moving to Patagonia, Chile, probably Northern River Region.
        However would like to take more sailing lessons. Appreciate it.

        • Pete Gorkiewicz   •     Author

          Hi Patrick! Wow, Margarita Island is on our must-see list for someday… sounds very cool. What’s your email address? I’d be happy to send you what I have for contact info on Mario.

  2. erika   •  

    Hello!! Do you still having Mario’s contact? Please send me his telephone:)

    • Pete Gorkiewicz   •     Author

      Hi Erika!

      Sorry I just saw this! Can I send it to you by email? I’d feel awkward broadcasting his phone number. pgorkiew@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *